Archive by date | May 2014

Human-rights court rules that evidence must support compassionate therapy

Patients do not have an automatic right to a compassionate therapy for which there is no scientific evidence of efficacy, according to a landmark ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  Read more

Kavli Prizes reward cosmic inflation, memory research and imaging

Kavli Prizes reward cosmic inflation, memory research and imaging

The 2014 Kavli Prizes, announced today, were shared among nine scientists for their work on the theory of cosmic inflation, for contributions to the field of nano-optics and for the discovery of specialized brain networks for memory and cognition.  Read more

WHO postpones decision on destruction of smallpox stocks — again

The stalemate continues over the question of when to destroy the last stocks of the virus that causes smallpox, a killer disease that was eradicated in 1980. One of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) two advisory committees on smallpox supports their destruction, while the other opposes this. Last weekend, health ministers of the WHO’s 194 member states again postponed a decision, and decided to set up a third WHO smallpox advisory committee in a bid to broker a consensus.  Read more

Lead author agrees to retract controversial stem-cell paper

Reports in Japan suggest Haruko Obokata, of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, has agreed to retract one of two controversial papers in which she claimed to have created a new type of stem cell, known as stimulus-triggered activation of pluripotency (STAP) cells. The development means that the path may now be clear for the full retraction of one of the biggest science papers of the year.  Read more

Unknown appointed as new India science minister

Jitendra Singh, 57, a physician – as well as an author and newspaper columnist — was a professor of diabetes and endocrinology at the Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu until 2012, when he became a politician. He ran for the first time as a BJP candidate in the recent Parliamentary elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and won. On 26 May Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted Singh into his government as a junior minister, unlike his predecessor, Jaipal Reddy, who held cabinet rank.  Read more

European Commission rejects petition on embryonic stem cells

The European Commission has, as predicted, turned down a request from more than 1.7 million citizens for new legislation to ban the funding of research using human embryonic stem cells, including those which do not involve destruction of new embryos.  Read more

False alarm of cosmic blast sends astronomers racing to telescopes

False alarm of cosmic blast sends astronomers racing to telescopes

NASA’s Swift satellite has detected a burst of high-energy gamma rays coming from the Andromeda galaxy, the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way. The rare cosmic explosion is likely to deliver a flood of data to astronomers, who are swiveling their telescopes to capture its aftermath.  Read more